Halloween's #impact all depends on where you grew up. A tiny almost-rural suburb? You'd clean the fuck up because social politeness meant that everyone knew each other and people would have to open their doors to your trick or treating demands. Otherwise, in a community that tight, they'd be publicly aired in no time. In a major city, densely populated rows or towering blocks of houses would make it easy to fill that sack of sweets up within a pretty tight radius. Those of you who grew up in middle-class, high-security neighborhoods know the struggle of walking up to someone's electric fenced gate, ringing the intercom and waiting for a response while the guard came up on the other side, asking who the hell you were through the wrought iron. Not as easy.
But you don't need a solid Halloween haul to get into the general 'scare me a bit but not too much cos I'd quite like to sleep tonight' spirit. As a kid, you could sit cross-legged on someone's floor in total darkness, point a torch nicked from the kitchen up at the ceiling from under your chin and make it your mission to scare the shit out of your friends with a slow-building urban legend. With that in mind, Gorillaz decided to share some of their favorite ghostly stories with us. We're not selfish: we've got them here so you can read them too. Happy Halloween, get spooky and weird, enjoy.
2D: "The sound was coming from the cupboard"
I don't really like ghost stories. Being in Gorillaz has been like one long ghost train. My nerves are regularly shredded, like Murdoc's tax returns and subpoenas. But OK, I'll tell you a story 'cos my therapist says it's good to talk. Once, a few years ago, Murdoc asked me to go back to the house and fetch his lucky thong from the cupboard. I wouldn't have minded except we were in Fiji at the time. Anyway, after I hiked back out of the jungle, hitched a ride to the airport and flew back to Heathrow, I made my way home. At first, everything seemed normal.
But when I got near Murdoc's bedroom, I could hear this weird sound, like someone going 'ooooo' with their mouth. When I tiptoed into his room, I could hear the sound was coming from the cupboard—the same cupboard I was meant to get the thong from! Crikey, I thought. Actually, I might have said 'crikey' out loud, due to the stress of the situation. Anyway, I had no choice but to open the cupboard. And when I did, a terrifying INFLATABLE LADY jumped out at me! She had her mouth open in this freaky 'ooooo' shape, as if she wanted to swallow something really large. Or small, depending on the size of the thing. Turns out it was Murdoc's blow-up friend Theresa. She's actually not scary at all, and now we watch Bargain Hunt together every Tuesday and Thursday.
Murdoc: "Egaeus suddenly noticed his bloodied dental equipment"
My old Grandpop was very good mates with Edgar Allan Poe. The two of them used to get slotted on booze and opium then go out punching cows 'til the early hours. Wonderful man, Poe. My dad used to read me his horror stories before bed until I cried myself to sleep. One of my favorites was Berenice, a charming little yarn about a bloke called Egaeus who's about to marry his cousin. Not because he fancied her or anything, but because she already lived in his house and he couldn't be arsed to go out. Makes sense, really.
Anyway, tragically, before they could wed, Berenice dies of a horrible deteriorative disease, leaving nothing behind but her teeth. Naturally, Egaeus is totally fucking flummoxed. One minute he'd been staring lovingly at her gnashers, the next, she was dead and buried, leaving only her pearly whites! Turns out Egaeus suffered from an obsessive disorder, and was so fixated by her teeth he'd removed them unconsciously while in a trance. When his servant points out a box of bloodied dental equipment beside him, Egaeus is like, "Oh yeah! Bloody hell. Oops, yeah I did that, soz." Moral of the story is… nope, no idea. Maybe try smoking less crack when you're writing, Edgar?
Russel: "I woke up with a sore head, in the musty dark"
Yeah, I'll tell you a story about a ghost. One by the name of Timothy Claypole, spook for hire. Dude used to dress up like a psycho court jester. Anyways, back when I first came to the UK, Lil Russel landed himself a gig as a runner on his TV show, Rentaghost or some shit. One day, Claypole jingled up to me in the studio. Said he dug my vibe, talked up a possible promotion. Then he offered me a toke on this weird voodoo pipe he carried under his jester hat. Next thing I knew, I woke up with a sore head, and it's dark. Real dark. Musty, too.
Then something smacks my ass, and I start galloping around like a knucklehead. I can hear the studio audience going crazy. It dawns on me… I'm the back-end of that whack-job horse! After the show I confronted Claypole. He shows me a zero-hours contract with my John Hancock on it. In perpetuity! Russel Hobbs spending the rest of his days as a horse's ass? A ghost horse's ass!? Uh-uh. Anyways, it got even more hazy after that, on account of the pipe, but as I recall, me and Christopher Biggins escaped by abseiling down the side of Television Centre in the dead of night, and, well, failing ratings did the rest. Crazy, man. Different world back then.
Noodle: "Flesh rots and peels off like hot ramen strands"
I like your English ghosts because they are polite and dress nicely (Victorian revival is hot in Japan right now) but let's be honest—they are not very scary. In Japan, we have the kamaitachi, weasel monsters with claws so sharp that no blood is spilled, and you don't know you've been cut until you realise bits of you aren't where they used to be. But they are little babies compared to Jorogumo. She's half-woman, half spider, all-badass. She seduces stupid men then wraps them in her web and eats them. Slowly. I would say she's my personal favourite. But the worst of all is Oshiroi Baba, a bent old lady in a torn kimono, carrying a bottle of face powder. She hobbles up to sweet young girls and tries to trick them into putting on her face powder, saying it will make them more beautiful. But as soon as it touches their face, the flesh rots and peels off like hot ramen strands, leaving nothing but a skull. It might sound cool, but trust me, it's not an easy look. You need a really cute hat to make it work. Anyway, that's all from me. Sweet dreams! xxx
Thanks, guys. Gorillaz continue to play their Humanz tour across the UK and Europe until December, with massive rap talent Little Simz supporting. Find out about the deluxe vinyl 'Humanz' box-set here.